Many small legacy cities face a similar problem – high quality jobs are available, but the skills required for them do not match those of the local workforce.

These jobs often do not require a college degree, but some advanced training  is necessary. This is particularly true in the advanced manufacturing and healthcare sectors, two major employers and economic drivers in many small legacy cities. Yet existing workforce development programs in some communities are not closely aligned with employers, and the skills taught to program graduates are not what is in most demand.

In order to solve this challenge, some communities are approaching workforce development with a “dual-client” approach. Workforce development intermediaries see both employers and workers as their targets in this model, and seek to align the needs of both groups. They work closely with employers to understand what skills are in demand, and then orient training opportunities and curriculum to boosting those skills.

Two examples of successful dual-client workforce programs are below:

Work Train: A program of CenterState CEO, the regional chamber of commerce in Syracuse, New York. The program is explicitly focused on increasing economic inclusion and reducing poverty in Syracuse, while also creating a stronger workforce for local employers.

Link Lima/Allen County: An initiative of Allen Economic Development Group, a nonprofit focused on business growth in the Lima, Ohio region. The program encourages collaboration among employers, workforce development organizations, and social service agencies to help improve employment outcomes for local workers.